Reviews

I’m constantly trying new things, but I only review stuff that I actually use. That should help keep the clutter down and keep you focused on the best stuff out there. I hope these reviews are of benefit to you in your lifelong adventure of photographic fortune and glory.

SOFTWARE  |  CAMERAS  |  LENSES  | TRIPODS  | OTHER REVIEWS

Photo Software Reviews

Five pieces of software you should have

Additional Software you may find helpful

Photo Software Coupon Codes

I also have a complete list of the best coupon codes for photo editing software.

Camera Equipment Reviews

Below is a list of cameras I recommend that should work for any skill level or budget. In addition, I have a more complete list of Camera Lens Reviews that covers all the lenses I use for my photography.

Sony a5000 Mirrorless Camera

Good Camera: Sony a5000

Priced at under $500, this Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you at below the $500 level.

If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” recommendations. However, if budget is your principle concern, then no worries this Sony is the way to go! One great thing about it is that all the lenses that you get for this camera can also be used when if you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony a7R below.

Sony a6000 Mirrorless Camera

Better Camera: Sony a6000

Starting at below $800 which includes an 16-50mm lens.

Read my complete Sony a6000 review, it is the replacement for the Sony NEX-7 which I loved. The a6000 has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, 2x higher screen resolution, 7x the number of focal points, 24MP compared to 19MP, and more than 3x faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 3.5 fps).

Best Camera: Sony a7R

Starting at just over $2000

A full-on Sony a7R Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. This is currently my main camera. I absolutely love it. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems at a fraction of the price and size. It’s Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane. Check on the review there to see even more!

Camera Lenses

Sony a7R – First Three Lenses

Note these work for all the Sony A7 cameras! :)

  • Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great mid-range lens the covers wide to mid-range zooming. See more on the Sony 24-70mm review.
  • Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – I’m so impressed with this lens! I feel like I get just as good of results with this lens as I did with my Nikon 70-200 f/2.8. See more on the Sony 70-200mm review.
  • Sony FE 16-35 f/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – I’m so excited about this lens! This is the first full-frame wide angle lens that fits the eMount on the Sony a7 line of cameras.

Sony a7R – Other Goodies!

  • Sony Alpha Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – So that you can attach the other Sony full-frame Alpha lenses to your Sony a7R
  • Novoflex Leica Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – Fantastic for attaching any lens that uses the Leica lens mount. Check out my Leica Lens Buying Guide for more info.
  • Nikon F Lens Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Nikon DSLR lenses
  • Canon EF Adaptor (Amazon | B&H Photo) – To hook up your Canon DSLR lenses

Sony A5000 / A6000 Camera – Two Great Lenses

If you are just getting started and want recommendations on your first couple of lenses, here they are. Often times a camera will come with a “kit lens” that is pretty versatile and can get you a long way. The Sony a6000 comes with a 16-50mm lens that produces great pictures. But there are many lenses that are better for more specialized situations.

  • Sony 55-210mm (Amazon | B&H Photo) – This lens is a little big but its versatility is perfect for mid-range stuff like landscapes, birthdays, sports, etc.
  • Sony 10-18 F/4 (Amazon | B&H Photo) – A great lens that gives you maximum wide-angle flexibility for landscapes and architecture. To find out more, read my full Sony 10-18mm Lens Review.

Leica Lens Buying Guide

I’m really getting into using Leica lenses with the Sony a7R. You have to manually focus but you still get focus peeking and all of the other sweet features of the Sony mirrorless system. I’ve created a Leica Lens Buying Guide where I’ll chronicle what I learn and recommend.

More Lens Reviews

I only write reviews for lenses that I use and recommend.  Here is a complete list of camera lens reviews.

DJI Phantom Vision Quadcopter

I recently got a quadcopter and I LOVE it! You can get amazing photos and videos from previously unattainable perspectives. I have the DJI Phantom 2 with Zenmuse H3-3d 3-axis Gimbal and Gopro Hero 3+ Black Edition.

I set mine up so it records HD video and also takes a photo every five seconds. Check out my full review of the DJI Phantom 2 with a behind the scenes bonus video.

 

What’s in my photo bag?

Tripod and Head

My best advice for tripods is to visit your local camera store and try them out!  Find one that you find easy to use…  I’ve tried many, and my recommendations are below. A tripod is composed of two parts – the Legs and the Head.  The head simply attaches to the legs, and these have universal connections.

  • RRS Tripod (link) – And here is the tripod.
  • RRS Head (Small) (link) – This is the Really Right Stuff tripod head I use. It doesn’t have to be too big because the camera is small.
  • RRS Head (Big) (link) – This is the ballhead I used with my much bigger DSLR systems. It’s highly recommended if you use hefty DSLRs!
  • L-Plates for your camera (link) – These allow your camera to attach to the tripod head. These “L” plates are of the variety that enables you to easily adjust it from landscape to portrait orientation.

Entry Level Tripod and Head

Other Reviews

  • Aweber Review – Email software that we use for our newsletter
  • ColorMunki Review – Helps to accurately calibrate the color of your monitors
  • Hoodman Review – Compact flash cards and other photography gadgets
  • HyperMac Review – Awesome external battery for Macs
  • MagCloud Review – Easily create print and digital books
  • RackSpace Review – This website and all of our others are hosted by Rackspace
  • Syrp Genie Review – a beautiful little device for time laps photography that automatically turns, pivots, and slides while taking the photo for you
  • Woopra Review – Great website analytics tools

Any questions about the nature of these reviews? Please visit my Ethics Statement. It’s all quite simple!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Colynuck/1801203446 Michael Colynuck

    I’m just curious if we can suggest subjects for tutorials (perhaps even for more detail in some step of an existing one) or offer videos (links?) of our own experiences/tricks with your currently reviewed software applications? It could get overwhelming though I imagine…

    Looking very forward to your future informational offerings!

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks!

    I do take suggestions… I can’t follow many of them up… as I use stuff, I generally put up a review if I think it is good! :)

  • kushal

    Thanks for this great. Had a fun-filled and extremely informative journey in you tutorial! Thanks a lot!

  • Frank

    Unbelievable stuff. I am just getting into HDR right now and have been using Dynamic-Photo HDR. Have you ever used this software and what are you opinions, if any, on the product? Thanks

  • http://none Steven Carvotta

    Great Reading, thanks.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Darrell-Wood/1596948326 Darrell Wood

    Will you be moving to Nikon 16-35 and selling your 14-24. If you are and also keeping your 14-24 may I ask what you would use your 14-24 for.

  • Thomas

    I was trying to find some information on what size and make of SD(HD) memory cards you use and/or recommend? or some that you ‘recommend’ to avoid?
    I love your site, your reviews and your work.

    Well Done!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trevor-Driscoll/1282410018 Trevor Driscoll

    There is a typo at the bottom there :)
    “Games for iPhome”

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks!

    Trevor – I fixed that up.

    Thomas – I am working on a Hoodman review right now – search here on the page for that when it is avail!

  • Dave Burnet

    Hi Trey

    I ran across software called HDR Expose this weekend and am playing around with it. What are your thoughts?

    thanks,
    Dave

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  • http://www.mda-design.com dave seibert

    I want the 14-24mm f2.8 lens! Only problem is that I have a D300S… is that a waste? I shoot our interior exhibit/museum work and working with a 12-24 f4 lens has been frustrating… always a bit soft in my opinion compared to my 35-85 that came with my first D100. I sent the lens back to Nikon and they “retooled” the optics, but I still feel it’s not sharp as it should be.

    The crispness and clarity is what I want. There will be a move to a D700 or higher eventually, but not imminent. Would I see the benefits of this lens even though I’m in DX? If it’s sharp, I’d be VERY happy. Or should I be looking at a fixed mm lens? Again, this is mostly for interior installations.

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  • Vincent Randal

    I don’t have a Sony NEX-7. Instead, I have owned a Sony NEX-5N for about two weeks, and the more I use it the more I find fault with it. Sony told me the primary difference is the NEX-7 has a 24 megapixel sensor and comes with a viewfinder. They forgot to mention the NEX-5N sensor has better low noise performance than the NEX-7.

    But I will return the NEX-5N for a full refund for the following reasons:

    1. In Continuous Bracket mode you can only shoot 3 images and you are limited to EV steps of 0.3 and 0.7

    2. In Auto-HDR mode the originals are deleted by the camera, but you do get much wider EV range choices than in Continuous Bracket mode.

    3. In Auto-HDR in bright sunlight the images are almost completely washed out.

    4. You have to manually adjust the Exposure Compensation by trial and error to fix washed out images in Auto-HDR mode.

    5. You can only use a remote or timer in single exposure mode.

    6. The NEX-7 has all the same problems as the NEX-5N and a noisier sensor in low light.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mtylerhutcherson Tyler Hutcherson

    What is the application you use to do your screen captures for your tutorial videos?

  • http://DailyConcern.com/ Curtis Simmons

    ScreenFlow Pro

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  • mikenna

    it is so cool how close you can get to an object like the Kennedy Space Center!

  • Pete

    Trey I literally just bought a nex7 based mostly on your photos and recommendation. However, I haven’t used it yet (still on its way) and I’ve been reading a lot about the new nex6. My assumption was that the 6 was a step down from the 7 so I just went with the 7 but I’ve read a lot of people prefer it because of better focusing technology and how it handles high ISO. Have you had a chance to use the new 6? Since I can still exchange it do you think it’s worth switching out the 7 for the 6?

  • http://www.webdesign.org/ Julia Agnes

    cool! this page is full of useful information!

  • Guest

    Hi Trey
    Lo

  • Ern

    Hello Trey
    Not sure if this is the correct location to thank you for the Wonderful 75 Lightroom preset sale. WOW! these are really all fantastic, They give my pictures so much life and punch even dull once luck pretty darn great. Thanks for all your hard work and for making me look like a pro.

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  • treyratcliff

    Thanks – and glad you like the presets!

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  • Anu

    Hi Trey,

    You have got a great website and amazing pics. I am like brand new to photography but my wife is pregnant and I wanted to make great videos and take some great shots of baby and her in the hospital.Which camera would you recommend ? My main aim like any other parent is to make great quality videos of our Baby girl. Any suggestions how I can make this work :)

    I really hope you can help me out because I am like very confused.

    Regards

    Anu

  • treyratcliff

    Hi @Anu ! I suggest you get the Good or the Better from my “Trey’s Gear” recommendations above. You’ll be set up! :)

  • treyratcliff

    Sorry for my mega-late response! Check my recommendations under “Trey’s Gear” and try to A6000! :)

  • Rjm

    Hey Trey!
    Was wondering what service you use for printing your art to canvas, if you have a favorite. Smugmug?

    Thanks,
    -Ross

  • Twit

    I thought SM used compression when you upload? somewhere on the web it was suggested that some sites dont allow true lossless photo upload / storage

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